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India's world wealth index ranking slips
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT  New Delhi | 31st Oct 2010

India's ranking in a global prosperity and well-being index slipped by 10 spots since last year due to poor health services, inadequate educational facilities, uneven entrepreneurial opportunities and low perception of personal freedom. India was ranked 88 among 110 countries studied for Prosperity Index 2010, published this week by the London-based Legatum Institute.

The Prosperity Index is designed as an average of global ranking of each country on eight sub-indexes like economy, opportunity, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom and social capital. The information is mainly gathered from the Gallup World Poll, World Health Organisation, World Development Indicators and World Bank Governance Indicators, among other sources.

China is ranked 30 places above India, with its economy ranked at 24 in the world, while India's economy is ranked at 44. In social capital, China outranks India at 27, while India is at 105. This is mainly because about 57% Chinese feel they can trust others, while only 21% Indians find others trustworthy. The high ranking of China in social capital is also because of about 80% Chinese feel they have "someone to rely on in times of need", while "less than two thirds of Indians claim they can rely on family or friends in times of need..." The drop in India's ranking is mainly due to the sad state of educational facilities, for which India is ranked 89, health services ranked 95 and personal freedom for which it is ranked 74. "There is approximately the same number of girls as boys in primary schools, but class sizes are among the largest in the world, with 40 pupils for every teacher at primary level," the report states on education.

"One in 20 children die within the first year of life in India, and almost one in five people are malnourished, indicating poor public health," the report comments on health services. Noting that Indians have a life expectancy of only 53 healthy years, the report adds, "Only 78 percent are content with their personal health and an above average 27 percent report debilitating health problems." India is ranked 41 in governance, with three quarters of people surveyed approving of government: "42 percent approved of country's efforts to help the poor and 52 percent supported government efforts to preserve environment."

About 96% are confident in the military and 81% trust the judicial system, which ranks India's confidence in state institutions among the top 10 countries.

China is ranked 64 in governance, with 78% believing that corruption is widespread in business and government and is ranked among the bottom 10 countries on political rights enjoyed by its citizens. Further comparison of chapters on India and China shows that in India "nine out of 10 people believe that hard work allows people to get ahead" and about 93% of Chinese believe their society is meritocratic.

While unemployment is at 7.2% in India, 36% of the population seems satisfied with perceived job availability locally. In China, while official unemployment is only 4%, only 24% Chinese are confident of local employment opportunities. On the sub-index of "safety and security", India ranks at 78 while China is at 92. The report finds that India has a "high level of displacement, resulting in a sizeable community of refugees and internally displaced persons, and there are many group grievances arising from current and historic injustices". Acts of state-sponsored political violence are common and reports of civil and ethnic strife were reported in 2008, the report states.

There is also "a high level of demographic instability from border disputes, ownership or occupancy of land, access to transportation outlets, control of religious and historical sites, or proximity to environmental hazards." Despite these, the report states that "three quarters of people feel safe walking alone at night", which ranks India 28th globally.

In China there seems to be an "insecure atmosphere" due to "forced uprooting of refugees and internally displaced persons due to random or targeted violence and repression; group grievances based on recent or past injustices; state-sponsored violence and repression; and demographic instability, caused by the imbalance between available ecological resources and a population in need of them". "Perceived tolerance of immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities is very low in China," the report states, "with just under 39 percent and 46 percent of people, respectively, felt that their local area would be good place for such minorities to lives."

 
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